Tokyo stocks down as Turkey jitters continue

Pedestrians stand in front of a stock indicator displaying numbers of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (top C) and the world’s major markets in Tokyo. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Tokyo stocks down as Turkey jitters continue

  • Tokyo stocks erase early gains to finish lower in Wednesday trading, as Turkey’s currency crisis fuels concerns of contagion to other emerging economies
  • Tokyo shares opened higher after Wall Street advanced on Tuesday as Turkey’s lira recovered some ground

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks erased early gains to finish lower in Wednesday trading, as Turkey’s currency crisis fueled concerns of contagion to other emerging economies and pressured Asian shares.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which jumped more than two percent on Tuesday, lost 0.68 percent or 151.86 points to 22,204.22.
The broader Topix index was down 0.76 percent or 12.92 points at 1,698.03.
Tokyo shares opened higher after Wall Street advanced on Tuesday as Turkey’s lira recovered some ground.
But they soon fell into negative territory as Turkey’s financial woes continued weighing on investor sentiment in the region, sending key Asian shares down.
“While the lira is stabilising, investors are still concerned that the crisis will spread to other emerging economies and currencies,” said Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.
“Trading is expected to remain nervous for now,” Sato told AFP.
Investors were watching closely after the lira hit record lows on Monday and equity markets dropped sharply on concerns Turkey’s financial crisis could spread globally.
“Risk aversion triggered by the lira’s plunge is taking a breather for now,” Okasan Online Securities chief strategist Yoshihiro Ito said in a commentary.
But he noted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had not eased his tough stance as he said Turkey would boycott US electronic goods like the iPhone in response to punitive sanctions from Washington.
“We can’t take our eyes off the Turkish situation as how this will develop is increasingly uncertain,” Ito said.
Earlier Wednesday, Turkey announced it was hiking tariffs on a range of US goods in “retaliation for the conscious attacks on our economy by the US administration.”
The dollar was at 111.26 yen in Asian afternoon trade against 111.21 yen in New York Tuesday afternoon.
In individual stocks trade, shares of game makers plunged as China’s regulators have reportedly frozen approvals of game licenses amid a government shakeup.
Online game company Nexon slumped 5.85 percent to 1,318 yen, general game maker Capcom dropped 2.70 percent to 2,558 yen and Nintendo was down 2.95 percent at 34,850 yen.
Toyota fell 0.71 percent to 6,815 yen as Nissan lost 0.38 percent to 1,033.5 yen.
Panasonic dropped 1.13 percent to 1,390.5 yen with Sony down 0.39 percent at 6,000 yen.


China’s Xiaomi swings to net profit in Q3 on robust sales in India, Europe

Updated 52 min 18 sec ago
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China’s Xiaomi swings to net profit in Q3 on robust sales in India, Europe

  • Profit for the three months through September reached $357.23 million
  • The firm has been adding new brands to its smartphone portfolio to target niche consumers

HONG KONG: Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc. said on Monday it swung to a net profit in the third quarter, beating analyst estimates, driven by robust sales in India and Europe.
Profit for the three months through September reached 2.48 billion yuan ($357.23 million), versus an 11 billion yuan loss in the same period a year earlier. That compared with a 1.92 billion yuan average of five analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv Eikon.
Xiaomi also said operating profit sank 38.4 percent to 3.59 billion yuan in the third quarter. Revenue rose 49.1 percent to 50.85 billion yuan.
The mixed results come amid a slowdown in smartphone purchases both in China, where Xiaomi once was the top-selling handset brand, and overseas.
Nevertheless Xiaomi, along with fellow low-cost handset makers Oppo and Vivo, accounted for around a quarter of the global smartphone market in the first half of 2018, showed data from researcher IDC.
Xiaomi’s fastest-growing markets are India, where it has had success with its budget Redmi phone series, and Europe, where it entered in 2017 with launches in Russia and Spain. Earlier this month it released its flagship Mi 8 Pro device in Britain.
But to weather the global market slowdown, analysts said Xiaomi needs to expand to new markets and also sell more higher-priced devices with wider profit margins.
The firm has been adding new brands to its smartphone portfolio to target niche consumers. Concurrent with today’s earnings, it announced a partnership with Meitu Inc, a maker of a photo app popular with young women, to sell phones under its brand. Earlier this year it launched Black Shark, a phone targeted at gamers, and Poco, a value-for-money device aimed at India.
Mo Jia, who tracks China’s smartphone makers at research firm Canalys, said attempts to sell more expensive devices requires changing its brand perception.
“It’s still very hard for Xiaomi to change its perception of being a low-end device manufacturer as the majority of its smartphone shipments are the Redmi series.”
Xiaomi also aims to transform itself from a smartphone firm into a software company. As the firm prepared for its IPO, founder Lei Jun touted Internet services — namely advertisements placed on the firm’s in-house apps — as its future and key differentiator from other handset brands.
In the third quarter, Xiaomi’s smartphone division grew revenue by 36.1 percent while its Internet service division grew 85.5 percent. But phones made up 64.6 percent of total sales, while Internet services made up 9.3 percent.
The results are the second set released by Xiaomi since the smartphone maker raised $4.72 billion in an initial public offering (IPO) in June, valuing the firm at about $54 billion — around half of some earlier industry estimates of $100 billion.
Its shares have fallen roughly 20 percent since they started trading in July amid a broader Chinese stock market sell-off and concern about a slowdown in China’s tech industry.